Repak Team Green re-imagines recycling plastic
Taking steps to protect the environment has become an important part of many people’s daily routines, but 86% believe Ireland would be a greener place if the public did more. That’s according to new research of 1,000 adults in Ireland by not-for-profit environmental organisation, Repak.
The research, which was carried out by Repak to examine the public’s attitudes towards recycling and plastics, reveals 75% believe recycling correctly is the first step in driving environmental change. Avoiding single use plastics (59%), walking or cycling more often (49%), making homes more energy efficient (43%) and shopping local (42%) are other ways that people feel we could be doing to make Ireland greener.
Since Repak Team Green launched in 2018, the collective efforts of the public to recycle correctly has resulted in an increase of recycled plastic packaging tonnes by 22% or 17,472 tonnes. The theme of this year’s Repak Team Green campaign is called ‘Re-Imagine’ and has been created to help extend the consumers understanding of how recycled plastic can be made into many different products and materials if recycled correctly.
Ireland currently recycles 31% of all plastics, but only 21% of people are aware that it needs to increase to 50% by 2025 under EU Legislation. Learning what items can and cannot be recycled, as well as putting all recyclable packaging waste into the recycling bin clean, dry and loose is what everyone in Ireland must do to reach the 50% target. To find out more information about best practice recycling, take two minutes to join Repak Team Green here.
Re-imagining our attitude towards plastic
Regarding the perception that people have towards plastic, the Repak survey reveals that it’s a topic that divides public opinion. Over half (52%) avoid purchasing plastic packaged products, however plastic is reused to produce many other items under a circular economy. Circular economies ensure that all recycled products continue to be used in the manufacturing of new items, and operates in Ireland when items are recycled correctly, a fact that 1 in 10 were unaware of. Plastic is a force for good when it is reused but learning how to recycle correctly is critical to maintaining a circular economy.
Knowledge is power
While 78% of all adults polled are actively engaged in recycling in their household, surprisingly, just 63% of 18–24-year-olds are involved with recycling at home, despite the importance of needing to protect the environment for future generations. The research also suggests that some people are not fully aware of what items can and cannot go into the recycling bin. Over a quarter (27%) believe that only rigid plastic can be recycled, when in fact all plastics can be placed in the recycling bin once clean, dry, and loose, a change that Ireland’s recycling sector introduced last year.
Getting down to business with environmental change
Most people (89%) believe Irish businesses have a responsibility to make Ireland a greener place but only 14% have a strong understanding of the work businesses are doing to be more environmentally friendly. Repak’s 3,400 Members, which include retailers and brands from all sectors in Ireland, are working together with the Irish public to green the world and have helped manage recyclable packaging waste, with Repak Members recycling 96,412 tonnes of plastic waste in 2021, an 8% increase on 2020.
CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy commented on the launch of this year’s Team Green campaign:
“We are proud to launch this year’s ‘re-imagined’ Team Green initiative. Since it began in 2018, over 26,000 individuals have joined Repak Team Green and because of their collective efforts, recycled plastic packaging tonnes increased by 22% or 17,472 tonnes from 2018 to 2021. We have taken significant steps to protect the environment, recycling more plastic than the current EU plastic recycling target (22.5%) but we must recycle 50% of all plastics by 2025. Along with our 3,400 Members, everyone needs to try to recycle correctly and ensure the operation of a circular economy.
By joining Repak Team Green, you can learn how to recycle correctly and play your part to green our world. By working with our Members and helping them to recycle their packaging, Repak is committed to supporting this journey to becoming a greener Ireland for us and our future generations’’.
For more information on Repak Team Green, click here.